Toronto CH'er ISO a "good" Spot To Take Mom/Dad To
Will be visiting family in Miami for a week (leaving in the next few days) and subsequently will fall right on Mother's Day and as such, I'm looking for a place to take the parents to.
So here's my story: All three of us are from Toronto. Dad's family is from Miami/Dade though and have been good 20 years of my life. That said, we haven't been down in a very long time (probably a good 10 years now) so my knowledge of Miami spots is well...non-exisitant.
Personally I've had my fair share of mid to high-end dining in most major cities, but my parents not so much. In fact, I don't think they would ever appreciate a dining experience at lets say a Masa, Bouchon, Cochon, Alinea or WD50. They are just your typical, down to earth, no-frills type of peeps.
But they love food. And they love trying and experiencing different food. So here's where I need to lean on you my Miami faithful. Looking for something around the $40 - $60 per head range (no wine as they do not drink), casual atmosphere, and good food that showcases Miami's local food/culture (seafood would be killer!). I was looking at something like Versailles and that's a place that would resonate quite well. Any other suggestions?
How about Joe's Stone Crab? There will be 1 week left of stone crab season at that point....but the place is sure to be slammed for Mothers Day (as will every other decent restaurant). Versailles is good for local food/culture....I really like Las Culebrinas in Coconut Grove for Cuban as well.
Joe's Stone Crab
11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Not the most gourmet food by any means, but I always like to take out of towners to the brunch at Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne. Never a shortage of food, it's a huge buffet including requisite seafood; oysters, peel and eat shrimp etc. The views are pretty impressive and people I've taken there always seem to have a good time. Might qualify as your good 'spot' as it's not really high-end dining.
Key Biscayne, FL, Key Biscayne, FL
Versailles is a Miami institution, the food is decent, and the menu runs the gamut of Cuban culinary options and will certainly be within your budget. But personally I don't find it all that exciting.
Instead, I might suggest you check out Red Light, up Biscayne Boulevard near 79th Street. Funky, bohemian vibe, very casual, on the Little River (a tiny inlet that flows out to Biscayne Bay, but you'll see birds, fish, and the occasional manatee), and the menu focuses on local ingredients with some influence from Caribbean flavors (as well as some Creole influence - chef has New Orleans roots). There's always a couple local fish on the menu, and the N.O. style bbq shrimp are outstanding. Generally nothing on the menu over $20 and many items (smaller plates) $10 or under.
Also focusing on your seafood comment, I'd throw into the mix Altamare on Lincoln Road, Area 31 in the Epic Hotel downtown, and River Oyster Bar off Brickell Avenue near downtown. Michael's Genuine in the Design District also is very strong with the "farm-to-table" ethos and you'll find lots of locally sourced ingredients (and some of the best food in town).
7700 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138
270 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131
The River Oyster Bar
650 S. Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33130
Red Light definitely sounds like something that my parents would be into (we're from Jamaican roots).
Michael's Genuine looks great, but i think the folks would feel completely floored at a place like that. THAT to them would be like El Buli to us.
7700 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138
Michael's Genuine really isn't - or shouldn't be - that intimidating of a place. The prep methods for the foods are for the most part pretty traditional, and the menu has a good mix for both conservative and adventurous diners (one of the secrets to its success, along with doing both well). You can get a BLT salad, a pork chop, a steak au poivre, or a wood-oven roasted fish, or you can get a crispy pig ear salad and beef cheeks.
Take 'em to Garcia's Seafood Grille & Fish Market on the Miami River. Great seafood, fantastic setting and reasonably priced.